Police Scotland are reminding hill walkers to take extra care and plan their walks ahead of time.
A reported 20% increase in callouts by the mountain rescue team across the North East, Highlands and Tayside area, marks ‘their busiest period on record.’
Sergeant Peter Lorrain-Smith, Police Scotland’s mountain rescue co-ordinator, said: “Our message remains simple – come to the hills and mountains and enjoy them, but be prepared for all eventualities and don’t go beyond your ability; preparation is the price of admission.
“Scottish mountains are by their very nature extremely unpredictable, therefore it is important that people take as many precautions as possible and plan ahead.”
A total of 324 call out’s have been counted since January now, which is why the service are calling for enthusiasts to ‘prepare for all eventualities’.
210 of them happened in the Highland region, followed by 64 times in Tayside and a further 50 times across the North East.
Sargent Lorrian-Smith added: “The North of Scotland is lucky to have some of the most beautiful hills and mountains in the country, and over the past few months we have experienced a significant increase in the number of people heading outdoors to enjoy themselves.
“By all means I do not want to put anyone off appreciating our great outdoors, however I must highlight just how crucial it is that you are prepared.
“Plan the route you are going to walk and consider whether it is safe to climb and if you have the ability to complete it safely. Also take sensible precautions and ensure you have suitable equipment, clothing and supplies.
“Unfortunately we continue to come across examples of people not being prepared for the walks or climbs they have embarked on, including people without maps, torches or basic survival gear, nor the skills and knowledge to use them.
“Many people have told us this is the first time they have ever hill-walked or climbed, and didn’t appreciate just how quickly conditions can turn.”
The police are asking that people respect the countryside code and take into consideration if your parking spot will get in the way of rescuers.
They are advising that people find more information from: www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot